Social technology’s power for organizing, disseminating information, and empowerment can all be seen on Contratados, a new, interactive website designed as a “Yelp, for migrant workers.” In addition to informational audio novelas and illustrated comics, the website provides a forum for workers to review recruiters and employers. The result is a dynamic web space that provides resources to a population that often deals with workplace and human rights abuses.
Contratados.org has several primary functions, with each designed to aid the approximately 90,000 H-2A and H-2B migrant workers from Mexico as they navigate employment in the United States (“contratado” translates roughly to “hired” in English). These functions include:
- An Employee Review Database: Workers can review employers and search for past reviews of employers. Reviews include information on conditions and practices of the workplace, with employee perspectives on areas from worker pay and hours, to physical and verbal treatment by the employer.
- Educational, Narrative-Driven Multimedia on Worker’s Rights: A mix of media, each organized around a worker’s rights topic (Workplace Safety, Discrimination and Sexual Harassment, etc.) and designed to educate workers, are included on the website. Illustrated comics and audio novelas present the information in an entertaining, concise manner.
- Running Lists of the Latest News & Resources: The website includes a continuously updated series of posts around the latest relevant news. There is also a useful listing of resources, including contacts and data organized by potential worker concern.
As a resource for participants in international guest-worker programs, Contratados represents a realization of the combined impact of digital technology, activism, and art in practice. Migrant workers can use the website as an anonymous resource, in which they can acquire facts about personal rights and potential work environments, and they can also use the site to express personal work experiences. Collectively, the tools provided by Contratados offer an empowering digital space in which the worker is valued and has leverage in the employee-employer relationship.
Contratados is offered in collaboration by Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, the Migrant Defense Committee, Research Action Design, and Studio REV-. You can explore the website at http://contratados.org/.